Centennial and Lakeside boys wrestlers among the big winners at the Riverside County Championships – Press Enterprise

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RIVERSIDE — The Centennial boys wrestling program has a long and proud history at the Riverside County Championships.

Aaron Cross admitted he was not familiar with that tradition when he took over Centennial’s program last season.

“I came from Orange County, and this is only my second year here at Centennial,” said Cross, who coached at Villa Park before coming to Centennial. “I was unaware of the connection the program has with the Riverside County tournament. But after hearing from alumni and people in the program and the community, I quickly realized just how important this tournament is… I am proud to be part of keeping that strong legacy alive.”

Centennial had 11 wrestlers finish on the podium at the 40th edition of the Riverside County Championships on Saturday evening at Arlington High School. The Huskies amassed 251 1/2 points to outdistance Lakeside and Roosevelt (214 points each). It’s the program’s ninth Riverside County team championship, second only to the 16 won by Temecula Valley. Saturday’s team victory also was the first for the program at the county tournament since longtime coach Randy Campbell retired after the 2020 season.

Jacob Salas led the way for Centennial, as he took a quick 5-0 lead and ultimately pinned Lakeside’s Erik Quintero in the second period to claim the 132-pound championship. Five other Huskies reached championship finals and were the runner-up in their respective weight divisions: Rocco Madrid (120), Gage McKibben (126), Jesse Jimenez (157), Roman Rodriguez (165) and Keshaun White (175). Centennial’s six finalists were the most for any team at this year’s tournament.

“It’s exciting to bring a team here and win another one for Centennial,” Cross said. “It was a little disappointing to not get a few more champions, but at the same time we have some guys in the finals who have made so much progress over the past year.”

Lakeside had five wrestlers advance to the finals, and four of them brought home their first individual county championship.

Isaac and Isaiah Rea each placed third as sophomores last season, but the twins reached the top of the podium Saturday.

Isaac (150 pounds) avoided being pinned in the second period and erased a 5-2 deficit with a strong final period. He scored points with three takedowns and a near fall to pull out an 11-8 decision over Palm Desert’s Luke VanBuskirk.

“It took determination and desire to keep on wrestling,” Isaac said about the comeback after giving up five points on near falls in the second period. “Our crowd got behind me, and that really helped push me through to the end.”

Isaiah followed up his brother’s victory by scoring an 6-0 decision over Jimenez to capture the 157-pound crown.

Chase Carrasco won the 120-pound championship with a 9-5 win over Madrid. Carrasco trailed 5-4 midway through the second period, but regained the lead on a reversal and a near fall late in the period. Axel Esparza was Lakeside’s fourth champion Saturday, as scored on a takedown in overtime to pull out an 8-6 decision over King’s Paul Knapp.

West Valley’s Gabriel Barragan and Patriot’s Achilles Violette won county titles for the second consecutive year.

Barragan remained unbeaten on the season when he pinned White during the first period of the 175-pound championship match.

“It takes a lot of hard work, so it’s always a good feeling to see when it pays off,” Barragan said of his second county title.

Violette squared off against Hemet’s Daniel Mendoza, another 2022 county champion, for the 190-pound championship. Mendoza scored first with an early takedown, but Violette bounced back and held a 5-3 lead following one period. Violette extended the lead with a takedown and near fall in the second period en route to posting an 11-6 victory.

“I was seeded No. 2, and I felt like I should have been No. 1,” Violette said. “I took that a little personal and just used that to fuel the fire… I like to counter-wrestle, and I was able to do that well in the final match.”

Two Vista Murrieta wrestlers claimed championships. Steve Corona and Isaac Castaneda of Canyon Springs delivered one of the wildest matches of the championship round, as the lead. Corona ultimately pulled out a 13-11 decision on a takedown with 14 seconds remaining to prevail at 113 pounds. Noah Bode defeated Roosevelt’s Michael Trejo 10-1 to capture the 215-pound title.

Indio had bookend victories in the championship round. Leland Hodges pinned Temescal Canyon’s Devin Tait during the second period to win at 106 pounds, while Miguel Saldana defeated Elsinore’s Kalui Costa 11-6 in overtime to win the 285-pound crown. Hodges’ father, Jason, won three Riverside County championships when he wrestled for Indio.

King’s Mateo Ochoa remained unbeaten and claimed the 126-pound title when he pinned McKibben in the first period.

Roosevelt had eight wrestlers finish on the podium, second only to Big VIII League rival Centennial. Ethan Paredes led the way for the Mustangs, as he pinned Rodriguez in the opening period to win the 165-pound championship.

Riverside Poly’s Dominic Ruiz rolled to a 12-0 win over Santa Rosa Academy’s Dryden Strauser to win at 138 pounds.

Hodges and Ochoa were the joint winners of the lower weight MVP award. Isaiah Rea was chosen the MVP of the middle weights, while Barragan was selected the MVP of the upper weights.


Team scores (Top 20) — 1. Centennial 251.5; T2. Lakeside 214; T2. Roosevelt 214; 4. Palm Desert 177; 5. Canyon Springs 162; 6. King 159; 7. Murrieta Mesa 154; 8. Hillcrest 146; 9. Shadow Hills 140; 10. Great Oak 133; 11. Vista Murrieta 127; 12. Temescal Canyon 118; 13. Norco 114.5; 14, Indio 110.5; 15. Ramona 106; 16. Perris 104; T17. Santa Rosa Academy 102; T17. West Valley 102; 19. North 98.5; 20. Elsinore 96.

106 pounds — Championship result: Leland Hodges (Indio) pinned Devin Tait (Temescal Canyon) 2:23. Other placers: 3. Davis Shaposhnick (Great Oak); 4. Gavin Equihua (Arlington); 5. Olivia Lopez (Hamilton); 6. Anthony Martinez (Lakeside); 7. Samuel Oliver (Notre Dame); 8. Samuel Jimenez (Roosevelt).

113 — Championship result: Steve Corona (Vista Murrieta) def. Isaac Castaneda (Canyon Springs 13-11. Other placers: 3. Jesse Quiroz (Roosevelt); 4. Cash Andrade (Palm Desert); 5. Dylan Carlos (Shadow Hills); 6. Andrew Acevedo (Norco); 7. Michael Bravo (Shadow Hills); 8. Merric Balckston (Centennial).

120 — Championship result: Chase Carrasco (Lakeside) def. Rocco Madrid (Centennial) 9-5. Other placers: 3. Kevin Tan (Rancho Mirage); 4. Isaac Caldera (Roosevelt); 5. Jaiden Webb (Great Oak); 6. Tyler Hiraoka (North); 7. Josue Mejia (Valley View); 8. Adam Davis (Hillcrest).

126 — Championship result: Mateo Ochoa (King) pinned Gage McKibben (Centennial) 0:44. Other placers: 3. Christian Ornelas (Canyon Springs); 4. Sid Barron (North); 5. Deegan Hernandez (King); 6. Daniel Mejia (Hillcrest); 7. Johnny Overgaag (Palm Desert); 8. Aden Arista (Lakeside).

132 — Championship result: Jacob Salas (Centennial) pinned Erik Quintero (Lakeside) 3:18. Other placers: 3. Kayden Java (Vista Murrieta); 4. Shawn Worley (Great Oak); 5. Andrew Garcia (Hillcrest); 6. William Palacios (Rubidoux); 7. Ruben Escobedo (King); 8. Addiel Orozco (Palm Desert).

138 — Championship result: Dominic Ruiz (Riverside Poly) def. Dryden Strauser (Santa Rosa Academy) 12-0. Other placers: 3. Caleb Penagos (Murrieta Mesa); 4. Angel Vargas (North); 5. Abraham Acuna (Indio); 6. Jeshua Camarena (Shadow Hills); 7. Pablo Hernandez (Centennial); 8. Humberto Carlos (Patriot).

144 — Championship result: Axel Esparza def. Paul Knapp (King) 8-6. OT. Other placers: 3. Ayden O’Brien (Palm Desert); 4. Rocco Godinez (Centennial); 5. Jonah Montenegro (Roosevelt); 6. Zakkary Quaid (Ramona); 7. Aiden Harry (Hillcrest); 8. Isaac Hernandez (Valley View).

150 — Championship result: Isaac Rea (Lakeside) def. Luke VanBuskirk (Palm Desert) 11-8. Other placers: 3. Isreal Dunn (Canyon Springs); 4. Felicito Nunez (Shadow Hills); 5. Caleb Delgado (Santa Rosa Academy); 6. Ethan Zabala (Norco); 7. Evan Orozco (Murrieta Mesa); 8. Luke Lara (King).

157 — Championship result: Isaiah Rea (Lakeside) def. Jesse Jimenez (Centennial) 6-0. Other placers: 3. Bobby Hernandez (Great Oak); 4. Richard Trujillo (Canyon Springs); 5. Noah Koendarfer Jr. (Norco); 6. Ryan Galvan (Santa Rosa Academy); 7. Caiden Hogue (Palm Desert); 8. Andrew Pena (Temescal Canyon).

165 — Championship result: Ethan Paredes (Roosevelt) pinned Roman Rodriguez (Centennial) 0:50. Other placers: 3. Luis Nunez (Shadow Hills); 4. Anthony Porter (King); 5. Colin Myers (Centennial); 6. Miguel Alvaredejo (Hillcrest); 7. Carson Rodriguez (Citrus Hill); 8. Luke Desando (Great Oak).

175 — Championship result: Gabriel Barragan (West Valley) pinned Keshaun White (Centennial) 1:40. Other placers: 3. Nicolas Tate (Palm Desert); 4. Anthony Galvan (Hillcrest); 5. Noah Montes (Roosevelt); 6. Nehemiah Ramirez (Shadow Hills); 7. Kaden Cryer (Norco); 8. Lennon Tinahui (Santa Rosa Academy).

190 — Championship result: Achilles Violette (Patriot) def. Daniel Mendoza (Hemet) 11-6. Other placers: 3. Davin Ito (Roosevelt); 4. Nathan Hutton (West Valley); 5. Uriel Garibay (Rubidoux); 6. Wyatt Toth (Great Oak); 7. Jacob Arellano (North); 8. Jeremiah Cuahuey (Indio).

215 — Championship result: Noah Bode (Vista Murrieta) def. Michael Trejo (Roosevelt) 10-1. Other placers: 3. Ifeanyi Onye (Murrieta Mesa); 4. Moses Laguna (Jurupa Valley); 5. Malohi Sipowicz (Hemet); 6. Dylan Baker (Liberty); 7. Javier Castillo (Perris); 8. Noe Santana (Centennial).

285 — Championship result: Miguel Saldana (Indio) def. Kalui Costa (Elsinore) 11-6, OT; Other placers: 3. Romario Bonilla (Perris); 4. Taylor Sampson (Army-Navy Academy); 5. Christopher Margis (Temescal Canyon); 6. Josh Torres (Hamilton); 7. Paul Rath (Perris); 8. Edwin Camacho (Liberty).

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